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The Pakistani Muslims Protests Against Anti-Islam FilmPervaiz Khokhar Salem-News.com
The movie has harmed the inter-faith harmony and could lead to extremism.
(PESHAWAR, Lahore Pakistan) - Thousands of supporters of a Pakistani religious group Jammat-Ud-Dawa Tehreek-e-Insaf or Movement for Justice took part in a demonstration in Peshawar, Lahore, Pakistan. Thousands of Pakistanis took to the streets on Monday to condemn an anti-Islam film, burning US flags and chant slogans, as police warned of more protest rallies across the country. In the northwestern city of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, up to 3,000 university students, teachers and employees marched after boycotting classes, police said.
They were shouting slogans against Americans and were demanding a ban on the anti-Islam film. Later they dispersed peacefully,” Gul Nawaz Khan, a senior police officer. Protesters from another anti-US rally blocked a main road in front of Peshawar University, Khan said. Some 350 activists from Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, a student wing of the hardline Sunni party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), staged a separate demonstration, blocking a main road by setting fire to tyres and burning a US flag.
In the port city of Karachi, where eight people were injured on Sunday when protesters clashed with police outside the US consulate, police expanded a security cordon around the mission as religious parties announced more rallies. “The routes leading to the US Consulate have been heavily guarded and barricaded to avoid any untoward incident,” senior police official Amir Farooqi told the scene saw heavy containers positioned across roads leading to the consulate to stop vehicles and individuals reaching it.
The “Innocence of Muslims” film, thought to have been produced by a small group of Christian extremists in the United States, has sparked violent anti-American protests across the Islamic world. Taliban fighters on Friday stormed a heavily fortified air base in southern Afghanistan; killing two US Marines in an assault the insurgents said was to avenge the video. A total of 17 people have died in violence linked to the film, including four Americans killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi.
The Federal Government Public Holiday Tomorrow
The Federal Cabinet has decided that the coming Friday would be observed as “Day of Ishq-e-Rasool” to convey sentiments of the people of Pakistan to the international community over dastardly act of production of blasphemous Internet film. Its meeting was held here on Wednesday with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in the chair.
Briefing newsmen afterwards, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said the cabinet set aside its formal agenda and turned it into a special session devoted to the one point agenda to discuss the production and circulation of blasphemous movie. It will public holiday on Friday to afford opportunity to the people to participate in peaceful demonstrations against the movie.
The Prime Minister appealed to the people to offer special prayers for strength and welfare of the Ummah. Ishq-e-Rasool Conferences would be held at federal and provincial levels on the day. The Prime Minister would inaugurate the conference at the Convention Centre in Islamabad in the morning. The cabinet adopted a resolution condemning in strongest terms the sacrilegious act of production of film that has injured sentiments of the Muslim Ummah.
It noted that the movie has not only injured sentiments of the Muslim Ummah but also harmed the inter-faith harmony and could, therefore, lead to extremism. The cabinet urged the international community to take notice of this heinous act and take steps to prevent their recurrence in future. The cabinet resolved that in consultation with Ulema, the Government would take every possible measure to ensure safeguarding of ‘Namoos-e-Rasalat’. It pointed out that freedom of expression doesn’t give right to anyone or any organization to insult others through speech or writing and spread hatred.
The meeting requested President Asif Ali Zardari to take up the issue in a forceful manner when he visits New York next week to attend the UN General Assembly Session. It also demanded convening of a special session of the OIC to demonstrate to the world the true feelings of the Ummah. In his opening remarks at the cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister said he has directed the Ministry of Information Technology to block Youtube in order to register protest at the availability of this sacrilegious film on the website and our demand for its immediate removal.
He said a message should go to the World that the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan strongly condemns this sacrilegious film, which has created unrest amongst the Muslims. He called upon the people of Pakistan to register their protest peacefully, observe restraint and refrain from damaging their own property. The Prime Minister said the Government believes in the policy of reconciliation as it would bring about political maturity and an atmosphere of harmony.
Raja Pervez Ashraf said he told the Court that the Government has decided to withdraw ex-Attorney General’s letter that was written to the Swiss authorities in the past. The Supreme Court, while exempting the Prime Minister from personal appearance, adjourned the case till 25th of this. He said it is the resolve of the Government to give maximum time for pursuing policies aiming at moving forward to address key issues facing us. The Prime Minister sympathized with all the bereaved families of the fire incidents in a garments factory in Baldia Town, Karachi and in a shoe factory in Lahore. Similarly, the recent torrential rains and flash floods badly affected major parts of the country leading to casualties and displacement of people.
Raja Pervez Ashraf said he has directed the concerned government agencies to provide best medical facilities to the injured and assistance to the affectees. The cabinet offered Fateh for those who passed away in these incidents. Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will fully participate in countrywide protests against sacrilegious film against Islam and Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) tomorrow (Friday).
Talking to media persons here on Wednesday, Rehman Malik said that the government was concerned over the blasphemous film which hurt the sentiments of the entire Muslim Ummah and the president and prime minister have already issued directives to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block YouTube in this regard. Malik said that he has also written to Interpol chief to remove the sacrilegious material from all internet links across the globe. He said that his administration powers have been reduced so he can’t visit everywhere with gun as the hero did in films and movies.
The interior minister said that terrorists wanted to play havoc in Karachi but due to security measures they could not accomplish their nefarious designs. Commenting over the usage of mobile phones in terror acts and blasts, Rehman Malik said a joint strategy would be constituted after detailed consultation with all the stakeholders. He said that opposition criticises him whenever he predicts terror threats in different cities of the country. May God grant you a great harvest as you plant and water for Him!
Source: Pakistan Observer
Reverend Pervaiz Khokhar is a contributing writer in Asia who covers issues pertaining to Christianity in countries that fail to tolerate religious freedom. Perfaiz is the Chairman of The Preaching Society & Social Welfare Services, Mohallah Rasool Pura Street No 7 in Jhumra City, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
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